Public choose MPs' ten commandments

Ben Kingsley in Moses: Tweetier-than-thou?
Ben Kingsley in Moses: Tweetier-than-thou?

By Alex Stevenson

MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates are to be handed the ten political commandments, voted for by the Twittering public, which should govern their political lives in Westminster.

Political site Tweetminster received hundreds of suggestions by Twitter when it asked members of the public to propose what they believed should be included in the ten.

After being narrowed down to a shortlist of 20, over 1,500 voters chose their favourites, which have been named the ten commandments for an MP.

Top of the list, attracting nine per cent of votes, was the commandment: "Thou shalt never forget that politics is about improving lives. Other people's, not your own."

Tweetminster co-founder Alberto Nardelli told the "big themes" from the final ten were clearly influenced by the expenses scandal.

As well as honesty, he picked out the wish for MPs to look after the interests of voters - and prioritise their constituents over parties and the country as highlights from the list.

Explaining the thinking behind the commandments, he said: "One of the premises on which Tweetminster is founded is to try and improve the way politicians and voters improve the way they communicate.

"People want politicians to engage and connect with them. There were lots of submissions around using channels and tools to stay in touch and engage with them."

Over ten per cent of MPs now have a Twitter account and Tweetminster will be monitoring the progress of MPs in sticking to the commandments (or not) over the coming weeks and months.

The website's potency for dominating the news agenda was made clear earlier this month by the #welovethenhs phenomenon, which spread "like wildfire" until even the prime minister commented.

Mr Nardelli said the platform would take time to develop to its full potential, however.

"It's about using the power of that communicating platform to spread a message, to allow people to mobilise and coalesce around that message," he said.

"It's about trying to get more people to knock on doors, more people involved and engaged within politics, and within traditional political activities. Twitter provides a platform that can help those existing processes, and get more people involved within them. That has the potential to become a very powerful tool."

He explained that the 2008 campaign to get Barack Obama elected as president succeeded because of this mobilising ability. While defeated rival John McCain polled nearly as well as George Bush he was roundly beaten because "the big difference was voter turnout".

"Tools like Twitter help to engage those broader numbers," he added.

The top ten political commandments for an MP

1 - Thou shalt never forget that politics is about improving lives. Other people's, not your own
2 - Be honest with the voters
3 - MPs shall treat constituents, stakeholders and staff as they themselves would wish to be treated - with genuine respect and good manners
4 - Thou shalt hold the executive to account, regardless of party affiliation, On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom
5 - An MP should not give publicly-funded jobs to family or household members. Recruit openly instead, and advertise locally
6 - Thou shalt not enter the political arena for personal gain
7 - Thou shalt not outsource your judgement, independence or opinions to the chief whip
8 - Thou shalt be able to demonstrate independence of mind
9 - Do what you promised to do in your manifesto
10 - MPs & PPCs should be transparent, open & engaging, and take advantage of all available channels


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